Thailand Experience

Thailand Experience information and booking

from
$2199
  • Duration
    20
    Days
  • Service
    Standard
  • Difficulty
    Hard
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Highlights

Tour Bangkok's canals to Wat Po, explore vibrant Chiang Mai, trek on foot to hilltribe villages, feed and bathe an elephant, experience ancient Ayutthaya, snorkel amongst the colourful marine life, wander quiet beaches and enjoy the scenery

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Marvel at beautiful Buddhist temples, share smiles with villagers during a remote hillside trek, and dive into southern waters - this comprehensive 20-day tour gets you to the cultural heart of Thailand and its best beaches. After getting close with elephants and temple ruins, head south for a week of island-hopping in search of great snorkelling and cold drinks on the best beaches. This trip is the perfect introduction to Thailand.

Itinerary

FOR TRIPS DEPARTING NOVEMBER 1st THROUGH APRIL 30th
Day 1 Bangkok
Today is arrival day so there are no activities planned. You are free to relax, explore the city and adjust to the frantic pace and humid heat of Bangkok. *Please note: if you have pre-booked the Northern Thai Adventure Bundle, your CEO will inform you when you will do each activity throughout your tour: Flight of the Gibbons (Day 1 - Bangkok) (pre night accommodation recommended), Biking (Day 6 or 10 - Chiang Mai). For more information on the Bundle see the Optional Activities section. Please arrive at our start point hotel before 6pm for an important group welcome meeting where you will meet you Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. Please look for a sign on the hotel's notice board to confirm the time and location of your group meeting. After your meeting, you may choose to head out for an optional group dinner to further get to know your CEO and fellow group members. We spend this evening in Bangkok. Our hotel is located in China Town, next to the central train station and MRT (Subway), and is only a short USD2 taxi ride from Khao San road and the central shopping area of Siam Square, MBK, Siam Paragon, etc. All rooms are double or twin share with air conditioning and en suite bathroom. The hotel has a small pool and wifi is available at extra cost.
Days 2-3 Kanchanaburi (2B,1D)
Traveling by private van to Kanchanaburi, the evening of Day 2 sees us staying on basic raft accommodation. The rooms are quite small and contain a double mattress in each room. Groups of over 8 people will be divided onto 2 raft houses. On Day 3 we visit Erawan National Park. The park contains the waterfalls of the same name (seven tiers of blue clear water with little fish that nibble at your feet), is well worth a visit. You can see Erawan, the 3 headed elephant that carries the Hindu God Indra, when you reach level seven (use your imagination!). Situated alongside the River Kwai Yai amongst limestone hills, Kanchanaburi (golden city) is most famous (or infamous) for the death railway that was constructed during WWII using prisoners of war and Asian labor. The bridge on the River Kwai, the war cemetery, Thai Burma war museum all make up the major attractions of this town. Many veterans and descendants of the POW’s return here to honor those that died during the construction of the railroad. Around 100,000 Asian laborers and 16,000 POW’s died during its construction with the track only running for about 20 months. Kanchanaburi province itself is the third largest province in Thailand and possesses some of the best preserved natural sites in Thailand – partly due to the fact that it is still sparsely populated. Our hotel on Day 3 is located on the banks of the River Kwai. Our rooms here are all double / twin share with air conditioning and an en suite bathroom. The hotel also has a swimming pool to help unwind after a long days sightseeing. Approx travel time: Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, 2 hours.
Days 4-5 Ayutthaya/Overnight train (2B)
Ayutthaya served as Thailand’s capital from the 14th to 18th centuries, when it ranked as one of the most magnificent cities in the world. Late in the 17th century its population reached one million, and foreign visitors wrote awestruck accounts of its size and splendour. Located 86km north of Bangkok, the ruins of this World Heritage Site include various pagodas and Buddha images. We arrive into this spectacular town early in the morning and transfer to our hotel by local songthaew. Once we have checked in, had some breakfast and cleaned up we will visit the Historical Park and look at the wonders of this ancient capital city. Our accommodation this evening is double / twin share with air conditioning and an en suite bathroom. This hotel has free wifi available. The hotel is very centrally located within an easy distance of the Historical Site. Please note: Due to disruptions of Thai trains in the north during the monsoon season, trips running July through October may be upgraded to a flight and extra hotel night in Ayutthaya instead of the overnight train.
Day 6 Chiang Mai
We arrive in the early morning and have free time to explore Chiang Mai. To fill your free time you can chose from a large range of optional activities or stroll the city independently. Surrounded by rolling hills, Chiang Mai is the cultural center of Thailand. Enclosed by a moat and crumbling walls, the old city features great cafes, shops and over 300 temples. Many visitors come here to attend cooking courses, massage classes or yoga lessons. It is also a mecca of handicraft production, with a long history of silverwork, woodcarving, pottery-making and weaving. Late afternoon we set off in private transport to visit the temple complex, Doi Suthep. Here we can delve deeper into Thai Buddhist culture and we may be fortunate enough to witness the chanting of the monks. Our hotel is located within walking distance to Chiang Mai Night Bazaar and other city destinations. All rooms are double or twin share with air conditioning and en suite bathroom. Free wifi is available. Note: if you have pre-booked the Thai Culinary Pack or Northern Thai Adventure Bundle your activities in Chiang Mai will be today or Day 10, ask your CEO for more details. Approx travel time: Chang Mai to Doi Suthep temple: 45 mins each way.
Days 7-9 Hilltribe Trek (3B,3L,3D)
From Chiang Mai, we start a 3-day/3-night hilltribe trek where we visit various hilltribe minority groups, each with their own language, clothing and religion. Enroute we stop for a local market tour for last minute supplies and your CEO will explain fruits and quirky market food. Over the 3 days we will get the chance to feed and bathe an elephant and test our rafting skills while bamboo rafting*. We walk approximately 4-5 hours each day along sloping hills and valleys. We leave our big packs in storage and take an overnight bag. Each person is required to be able to carry their own pack as our porters will be carrying food and water supplies. Accommodation is group share, where you will be sleeping on the floor of the village huts. Toilet and washing facilities are very basic in most of the villages so be prepared to rough it for a few days. During the trek simple food is provided for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It can be cold during the evenings (especially from December to February) so make sure you have some warm clothes with you. It is possible to rent trekking gear in Chiang Mai before the trek in case you have forgotten to pack something vital. Please note that trekking times are highly dependent on each groups level of fitness. The path that we follow may be changed to suit the groups fitness level or the weather during rainy season. *During the rainy season we may not be able to Bamboo raft because of high and dangerous water levels.
Day 10-11 Chiang Mai/Overnight Train (2B)
We return to Chiang Mai on Day 10 with free time for further exploration of the second largest city in Thailand. Take the afternoon to have a traditional Thai massage at the women's prison rehabilitation centre, or cruising down a stream on a bamboo raft. The fun does not end when the sun goes down, as the night bazaaar opens. The bazaar is a series of covered markets, shops and stalls that offer the best selection of handicrafts in Thailand. Please note that if you have booked the Adrenaline Theme Pack on Day 10 you will be picked up at 9:00 am for a half day cycling around Chiang Mai. A guided ride will take you to ancient temples, a local pottery workshop, bakery, Leper's colony and elementary school. Accommodation on the night of Day 11 is an overnight sleeper train. Beds are dormitory style, with bunks on two layers along the side of the train carriage. There are curtains along each bunk for privacy. Your luggage will be accessible during the journey. The train has air-conditioning and clean bedding is provided for each bunk. There are both western style and asian style toilets at the end of each carriage. Food and drinks are served on the train but you can always bring your own food from the shops and restaurants in the train station. Please note: Due to disruptions of Thai trains in the north during the monsoon season, trips running July through October may be upgraded to a flight and extra hotel night in Chiang Mai instead of the overnight train. Approx travel time: overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok: 12-13 hours.
Day 12 Bangkok
Return to the kingdom's bustling capital, enjoy the chance to spend a full day in Bangkok catching up on any shopping or sightseeing you might have missed.
Day 13 Koh Klang (1B)
After a short flight to Krabi, head to your homestay on Koh Klang where you'll be immersed in southern Thai culture. Visit a local government-supported project to help build local communities, then relax and soak in the southern Thai culture. Please note that if you have booked the Culinary Theme Pack you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to your cooking lesson where you will learn a traditional southern Thai dish. Due to the itinerary you will have your cooking class in Samui from May – Nov and Krabi from Nov – May. Koh Klang is situated at the mouth of Krabi River into the Andaman Sea. It is the closest island to Krabi town and is connected to the mainland only by long tail boats travelling from two different piers. It takes only 10 minutes to travel across to the island. En route to catching our boat, we'll stop at Department of Fisheries to learn about fish in the Andaman Sea, mangrove forests and local ecotourism of the Krabi area. We'll also stop at the best OTOP (government project called 'One Tumbol One Product'). Thailand consists of sub districts, which are also known as tambons. In order to help build local communities, each tambon has uniquely made and marketed products that are promoted and sold all over the world. We'll be able to see what this particular local community is producing and learn a bit more about the initiative. Approx travel times : Transfer from hotel to Bangkok Airport : 45 – 1 hrs Estimated flight time: 1.5 hrs Transfer from Krabi Airport to Koh Klang homestay : 45 mins plus stops
Days 14-15 Krabi (2B)
After breakfast, we'll take a private boat to Jao Fah Pier and drive to Ao Nang Beach in Krabi. Explore the Ao Nang Beach area with loads to do. Please note that if you have booked the Culinary Theme Pack you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to your cooking lesson where you will learn a traditional southern Thai dish. Due to the itinerary you will have your cooking class in Samui from May – Nov and Krabi from Nov – May. Ao Nang in Krabi is a virtual paradise for anyone looking for relaxation or adventure. White sandy beaches with swaying coconut palms, incredible cliffs and heaps of exciting excursions provide entertainment in all forms. Try kayaking, snorkeling or diving or choose to lounge on the beach. The small village of Ao Nang still retains its tranquil pace of life, while offering a host of shops, bars and charming restaurants.
Day 16 Railay Beach (1B)
Return from camping and stay one night in a guesthouse on Railay Beach. Railay is isolated from the mainland on a peninsula, surrounded by the warm Andaman Sea, lush jungle and twisted rock. This area boasts plenty of activities such as sea kayaking, diving, snorkelling, jungle trekking, cooking, whitewater rafting and quad biking. Feel free to lounge on the beach, too.
Day 17-18 Koh Lanta (2B)
Enjoy the time on one of the more tranquil beaches in the area, Koh Lanta.
Day 19 Krabi/Overnight Train (1B)
Enjoy a lazy beach morning following by a transfer to the train station and an overnight sleeper train back to Bangkok. Estimated travel time: 3 hrs to the train station Estimated travel time: 12 hrs to Bangkok
Day 20 Bangkok
We arrive back into Bangkok train station at approximately 8am where our tour finishes on arrival. You are free to depart from here at any time. If you are departing Bangkok today please do not book any onward travel until after 3pm, in case of delays on the train. We are able to arrange post tour accommodation for those who would like to spend a little more time in Bangkok - please ask at time of booking.
FOR TRIPS DEPARTING MAY 1st THROUGH OCTOBER 31st
Days 1-12 As above
See itinerary above for details.
Days 13-14 Koh Samui (2B)
Catch a flight to the tropical island of Koh Samui. Relax on the beach or visit the bustling little town. Opt for a snorkeling trip in Ang Thong Marine Park, an archipelago made up of 42 islands. There is a lot of biodiversity here, mainly of the marine life, due to the protection of its national park status. Note: if you have pre-booked the Thai Culinary Pack your cooking class in Samui will be Day 13-14, ask your CEO for more details. Approx travel time : Bangkok hotel to airport: 45 mins Flight to Koh Samui: 1 hr Transfer from Koh Samui Airport to the hotel: 40 mins
Days 15-16 Koh Phangan (2B)
After a short boat ride, we arrive on the small island of Koh Phangan, where we have the next two days to explore the island's waterfalls, swim in its lagoons, enjoy some scenic hikes or just relax. With everything from yoga and meditation courses, natural beauty, and its famous full moon parties, Koh Phangan has something for everyone. Approx travel times: Transfer from hotel to pier: 15-30 mins each way Ferry to Koh Phangan: 45 mins
Days 17-19 Koh Tao (3B,1L)
Take another ferry to Koh Tao, a haven for scuba diving and snorkelling. Included snorkelling from Koh Tao through Koh Nang Yuan. Enjoy the sea by day and a cocktail or two at night. On Day 19, travel by ferry back to the mainland and take an overnight train back to Bangkok. Board another ferry to travel to Koh Tao, in English known as ‘turtle island’. Initially, the island was not inhabited but in the 1980s the first travellers discovered the island paradise and fantastic marine life and word quickly spread. It's now become a popular backpacker destination, known mainly for the surrounding 40 or so dive sites and cheap dive courses. While most of the visitors spend their days in the water, in the evening the beach bars and hotels spill over with people looking to share their tales of the days activities and a cold beer or two. Our resort is located on the beach with comfortable twin and double rooms with en suite bathrooms. There is a pool close to the beach and there is free wifi available in the lobby. In the afternoon of Day 19, return to the mainland to board an overnight sleeper train back to Bangkok. Approx travel time: Hotel to pier in Koh Phangan: 1 hr Ferry from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao: 2.5 hrs Pier on Koh Tao to hotel: 20 mins
Day 20 Bangkok
We arrive back into Bangkok train station at approximately 8am where our tour finishes on arrival. You are free to depart from here at any time. If you are departing Bangkok today please do not book any onward travel until after 3pm, in case of delays on the train. We are able to arrange post tour accommodation for those who would like to spend a little more time in Bangkok - please ask at time of booking.